ARC Review: The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

40382231._sy475_Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

Read my review of the first book in the series, The Fever King!

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Thank you very much to Skyscape for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

TW: child abuse, attempted rape, death, murder, violence, domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, genocide, suicide, slut-shaming and victim-blaming, drug and alcohol abuse, emetophobia, ableist language. Detailed trigger warnings can be found on Victoria Lee’s website.

The Electric Heir is set for publication 17 March, 2020.

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Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmThe boy in this mirror was steel and frost and a bloodied knife. And he wasn’t afraid of anything.

 

The Electric Heir is a powerful story about surviving abuse for those who are still experiencing it. Victoria Lee explores the many different ways people cope with abuse and the stories we tell ourselves to face the trauma we experience, acknowledging that no one person’s experience is the same.

I loved The Fever King but I absolutely adore The Electric Heir. Victoria Lee is an author you need to watch out for, because she’s going places. Her writing is intoxicating, and draws you into the story no matter how difficult the scenes are to read. Lee wasn’t lying when she said the sequel is darker than The Fever King. The first few chapters are very hard to read, but Lee writes these scenes with respect, consideration and thoughtfulness.

The storyline was just as phenomenal as the writing. In The Electric Heir, we finally get Dara’s POV and his chapters were riveting. Dara no longer has his mind-reading witching powers, and finds himself vulnerable and at a loss with how to go on. He has only two things that are keeping him going: the chance to see Noam again, and the chance to kill Lehrer.

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 7.38.38 pmNoam had crawled his way into Dara’s mind and planted himself there, a root system tangled into Dara’s thoughts and Dara’s telepathy.

Inextricable.

 

Lehrer is one of the most despicable yet fascinating characters I’ve ever read. I both hate him and want to know more about him. He undoubtedly experienced immense trauma in his life but then went on to commit atrocities. He’s the kind of morally grey character I adore most in literature and I’m so thankful that Lee didn’t shy away from developing such a character.

Noam’s character development in this novel is both poignant and powerful. He is placed in an impossible situation and tries to survive in ways he only knows how. He is angry and depressed and spends a long period of this novel trying to come to terms with his own victimhood, but also come to terms with his actions in regard to the revolution.

Ultimately, The Electric Heir is a book that discusses the different ways powerful people abuse their power over others. Whether it be in a political landscape or in an intimate relationship, Lee masterfully explores abuse and how differently people react to it. Victoria Lee isn’t afraid to pull punches with this book. As a reader, you will feel deeply uncomfortable, but that’s the point.

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